Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day

We're having our traditional St. Patty's day meal tonight, you know, green eggs and ham.  I love holiday traditions!  I love hitting the grocery store for thick cut smoked ham, eggs, and anything else green that will go with the meal, like asparagus, salad, broccoli, limeade, jello and for dessert we're having no-bake, limey cheesecake.

What are your holiday food traditions?  We're always looking for more!

Creamy, No-Bake Cheesecake

1 graham cracker crust (I make my own with crushed cinnamon grahams)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup lime juice

Cream the cream cheese until fluffy, add milk and mix until smooth.  Add vanilla and lime juice, mix until all incorporated.  Pour into pie shell and refrigerate until set up.

**For St. Patty's day I add a few drops of green food coloring to the filling**

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Night We Ate My Son

Or, at least that's what he thought when we started talking about eating kale in this soup.

When the kids saw the green stuff in the soup it came out that the unknown vegetable was Kale, not Cael, my last born child.  He was sufficiently concerned and didn't touch the green stuff.

However, the rest of us did, and loved it.  This is one of my husband's favorite soups, and because it's one of those recipes that I don't usually have all the ingredients for, we go long periods of time without eating it.  You'll recognize the name if you've ever eaten at The Olive Garden, and if you've ordered their Zuppa Toscana, and liked it, then you now have a copycat recipe.  Though this recipe is not listed on their site, they have a large selection of their recipes online at

Zuppa Toscana

1 pound hot or mild Italian sausage
1 bag real bacon bits
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 cups water
5 cubes chicken bouillon
3 potatoes, chopped to 1/4"-ish
1 pint whipping cream (though I usually substitute half and half)
1 cup kale

Brown sausage in a large skillet.  Add bacon bits, onion and garlic and saute together.  Transfer meat mixture to a large pot, add water, bouillon, and potatoes.  Boil until the potatoes are cooked.  Add whipping cream and let simmer until thoroughly heated.  Add kale and let sit until the kale is soft, about 5 minutes.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Leftovers 101

Once a week we do leftovers night.  It's that night where everything that you've got in your fridge gets cleaned out and dumped.  Otherwise known as clean-out-your-fridge night.  I tell my kids the goal is to clean out as many of the containers as possible, it's like a game to them.

This was our leftover offerings last week.

#1 - Steamed butternut squash served with a little bit of butter, salt and pepper.

#2 - Beef roast, cooked in the crockpot for 4 hours with a packet of dry onion soup mix on the top.

#3 - Brown rice pilaf (recipe below), this was found while cooking a diabetic meal for a friend.

#4 - Mandarin-cranberry pork chops (recipe below), I made this one up to see how it worked.  It turned out to be easy and delicious!

#5 - Potatoes and onions, my kids favorite "fries".  Cut up some potatoes and onions, cook with a little bit of olive oil and salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.  Like fries, my kids eat this with ketchup.

#6 - Fresh cut mango.  I have never been good at cutting mangoes, I pretty well massacre them.  Then I asked my babysitter to teach me, because she's the master.  It's really easy, if you follow the directions.  Here is a tutorial, if you're interested.  It's not the way I learned, but it's a workable way as well.

#7 - Fajitas - Sauteed chicken breast, onions, green bell pepper and jalapeƱ kids loved it and it included everything they hate, ie: peppers and onions.  Sometimes it's just how you cook it!

Brown Rice Pilaf

2 cups water
1 cup brown rice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup frozen vegetables
1/2 tsp. cumin

If you have a rice cooker, throw it all together, and cook.  If you don't have a rice cooker, in a saucepan mix the water, rice, olive oil and salt and bring to a boil.  Mix in the vegetables and cumin.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 45-60 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed.

Mandarin-Cranberry Pork Chops

4 pork chops, or as many as you need to feed your family
1 can, whole berry cranberry sauce
1 large can, mandarin oranges, juice drained
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. curry powder

Preheat oven to 350°.  Brown pork chops in pan, season with a little salt and pepper, then place in baking dish.  In a separate bowl, combine all other ingredients and pour over chops in bowl.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour or until your pork chops are cooked through.  Serve over rice.

**This would also work really well in a slow cooker, just adjust cooking times as needed.**

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This Weeks Menu

Sometimes the thing I hate most about grocery shopping is sitting down and writing a list. Well, that would be a thing I hated the most if I didn't go shopping with kids anyways.
Here is what we are eating this week for dinner based on deals at my local HEB grocery and coupons that are burning a whole in my binder:

T-Bone steaks on grill (Marinade recipe)
Potatoes (chop, coat in olive oil and some of an onion soup seasoning pkt. Cover with foil and bake)

French Bread

Chicken Fajitas

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp
Pre-packaged veggie pot stickers

Strogonoff w/ leftover steak (I just made this two weeks ago but loved it so much I'm making it again already!)
Green Beans or Peas

Pineapple Chicken Sandwiches
Sweet Potato Fries

Chili served on baked potatoes
Fruit Salad

Now I know I need to post my recipe for chili and for my Mom's Gumbo!